The Servant Who Brings Justice
“Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations.”
Isaiah 42 begins the first of the so-called “Servant Songs” of Isaiah. These poetic passages speak of God’s servant who will bring justice and salvation to Israel and beyond. Isaiah uses the word servant flexibly in these “songs.” Sometimes the Servant is clearly identified with Israel (41:8). Sometimes the Servant seems to be another person who is sent to Israel to do God’s bidding.
As Christians, we see in the “Servant Songs” a description of Jesus, who came as God’s Servant and patterned his ministry after that of Isaiah’s Servant. Thus Isaiah 42:1 reveals something of the character and ministry of Jesus, who was God’s chosen one in whom the Father was well-pleased and upon whom the Spirit descended. (See the baptism of Jesus in Mark 1:9-11, for example.)
One crucial role of the Servant is to “bring justice to the nations” (42:1). The Hebrew word translated as justice (mishpat) means more than fairness in court. It refers to right government in a broader sense. God’s Servant will rule the nations in righteousness. Thus when we acknowledge Jesus as the Servant of God, we offer ourselves to him in humble service. We become servants of the Servant, ready to do his will on earth.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When you think of Jesus as the Servant of God, what ideas and images come to mind? What connections do you see between the justice of God and the ministry of Jesus? How do you live as a servant of the Servant?
PRAYER: Gracious Lord Jesus, today I honor you as the Servant of God. You were sent by the Father to bring justice to the nations. Yes, you judged the sin of all nations, yet taking that judgment upon yourself when you died on the cross. Thus the justice you bring isn’t condemnation, but restoration. You have come to make things right and to rule over this world with divine justice.
Even as I recognize you today as the justice-bringing Servant of God, I offer myself to you again. I am your servant. My life belongs to you and is dedicated to your purposes. So rule over me, Lord. Use me in your work of bringing justice to this world. May I be an implement of your justice in every facet of my life, for your glory. Amen.